This is not the riddle of the Sphinx, but a serious probe into your state of awareness around work, relationships, and your life as it is.

Consider these shocking workplace realities:

• 51% of “A” players are actively looking for another job
• 80% of people never use their greatest gifts at work
• Worker engagement is at an all-time low; 30% in the US and 11% worldwide.
• 75% of ALL illness is stress-related

What might these numbers be telling us if we are engaged enough to listen?

I believe the data is an indication that we are dis-connected to our cares; we are separated from our true self - the one that has gifts and passions, yet perhaps not yet the clarity to act upon them. I believe the data is telling us that we have become addicted to “getting ahead” in the future, while ignoring what we already have in the present. The problem stems from a focus on the future being somehow more important or valuable than the present. It stems from beliefs that we are not enough right now, that there is something wrong that will be righted at some later date, and then we will like our job, like ourselves, and like others.

I believe the data presents a plea for us to do something about the quality of the life we have right now.
When we learn to master our connection to our self, we can truly connect with others.

When we are engaged with our self, we engage at work. When we access our gifts, they spill out into everyday activities and encounters. When we learn to relax from our state of “high-alert,” we have abilities that were previously blocked from our visibility. When we can truly listen to ourselves, we listen far better to others.

What does it take to begin to connect?

1. Create an awareness of what isn’t working. Pay attention to: your energy level, moods, emotions, how you stand, sit, and hold your body. Observe your habits.
2. Have a desire for something different
3. Be open to new ways, including vulnerability.
4. Engage in process of powerful questioning; alone or with a trusted partner
5. Commit to practice supportive habits and be accountable

Tip: When you feel stressed, agitated or annoyed with someone else at work, rather than feed the agitated state, break it up! Breathe deeply from your belly for a few minutes. Flood your nervous system with fresh oxygenated blood and “feel-good” neuro-transmitters.

The body was designed to relax IF you allow it.
As you enter a more relaxed state, your awareness will be heightened. You will access your capacity for visualization and intuition. Solutions you didn’t see before are now visible. You may see that the listener you have been up until now was not fully available to the other person, and that the source of conflict is within you; not external to you.

The stress, agitation or annoyance you felt earlier has dissipated. You are able to address the situation with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. This shifts the dynamic of your relationship completely.

You are learning to lead from who you are and not from who you are not.

Look. Listen. Connect.

The solutions that work are there in front of you if you can stop and allow them to unfold.

Author's Bio: 

Susan S. Freeman, MBA, ACC, NCC
Executive Success Strategist
Author and Speaker
Founder, Step Up Leader

Susan Freeman is author of the new book, “Step Up Now: 21 Powerful Principles for People Who Influence Others,” and the Founder of Step Up Leader. She is an experienced and respected Executive Success Strategist whose passion is helping entrepreneurial leaders go from “stuck” to “unstuck.” She has created a unique system that helps people access their emotional intelligence so they can lead powerfully and authentically. Susan has helped clients in diverse industries and roles obtain passion, clarity, and exceptional results.
She received her B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College and her M.B.A. in Marketing from Columbia University in New York. She brings to her clients more than 25 years of strategic marketing, non-profit, and retained executive search experience in London and New York. She received her coach training and certification from The Newfield Network. Susan is an accredited coach with the International Coach Federation, as well as an MSP-certified business facilitator.
Susan is a native of Kansas City and resides in Tampa, FL. She is an active member of The Athena Society and a Leadership Tampa Alumna. Committed to education, Susan has served on several educational boards at the secondary and university level. Her global passion is developing young women entrepreneurial leaders in Rwanda, where she is currently involved with The Akilah Institute, a school that empowers young women with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to become leaders.

Susan is happily married and has three grown sons. Rarely a day goes by when she doesn’t eat a piece of dark chocolate